This past Sunday, June 19th, was Father’s Day. In churches around the country, and certainly in Baptist churches, the theme for the worship service was centered around the importance of the role of father. It is a good theme. The Bible speaks often of God as our heavenly Father and the incredible blessing of fatherhood that is established all the way back in Genesis. In my church, our pastor delivered a wonderful message on the “trademark” God has on fatherhood and how He has allowed us to be a part of that blessing. It was helpful and inspiring. It is good to be a part of a church that does pay attention to history and is willing to embrace it.
My intention is not to belittle or criticize the organizing of church services around Father’s Day. There is much good that can come from these “holiday” worship services. My intention is to make aware the sizable absence, especially among Baptists, of the other reason why June 19th was an important day on our calendar: Trinity Sunday. In the Western Christian liturgical calendar, the Sunday after Pentecost Sunday is called Trinity Sunday. It is a day set apart to celebrate the blessed nature of God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Throughout the course of church history, perhaps most famous being the Arian Controversy, the truthfulness of God’s nature has been distorted. One of the essential pillars of Christianity is that both Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are fully God; deny the Trinity and you deny Christianity. What better song could there be to sing on June 19th than “Holy, Holy, Holy – God in three persons, blessed Trinity!” As wonderful as an emphasis on fatherhood is, how much more wonderful is the worship and celebration of the Holy Trinity?
Baptists are not liturgical people. That is how I reckon most of my Baptist colleagues from the south would respond to my argument. They are right, we are not a denomination that necessarily follows the liturgical calendar. But so what? I would assume those same colleagues would also agree that we are not a denomination that follows the historical calendar of the United States of America. Yet, throughout the summer, we emphasize American holidays over centuries of established, Christian tradition. The point is not to do away with recognizing fatherhood. Instead, the point is asking ourselves the question, why are we not also recognizing the emphasis on the Trinity? One nice thing about serving in the west is that churches seem to be a bit more open to some new things, such as an Advent candle, etc. That has been nice to be a part of. So, whatever focus we place on worship within our churches around the world, it isn’t enough. There is always room for growth, always questions to be asked, and always evaluations to be performed. I think missing opportunities to educate people on the tradition of the church and the importance of what those traditions point to is a sad omission. Perhaps we should think twice.